I ran across a story from US News & World Report today on the growing number of localities around the country that are writing and passing their own gun control laws in spite of state-level preemption laws prohibiting them from doing so, and was immediate struck by the tone of the headline.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine a media outlet giving such favorable coverage to the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement. In fact, I went looking to see if US News & World Report had any original coverage on the growing movement in support of the right to keep and bear arms, and I did find one story. The headline isn’t bad, but it certainly doesn’t paint the movement in the same heroic light that the headline above paints the gun control movement.
What about the stories themselves? Is there any bias there? In a word, yes. From the story on localities enacting gun control laws in violation of state law:
South Carolina, along with 44 other states, has state laws in place, known as preemption laws, that limit cities’ ability to enact their own gun control measures. Yet many cities throughout the country continue to pass gun reforms, determined to take action against a ceaseless bloody national epidemic.
Stephen Benjamin, the mayor of Columbia and a gun owner like much of the City Council, says it always drives him crazy when, after some mass shooting, he hears, “If a good guy with a gun” had been there casualties would have been prevented. “We just recognized that it was time for the good guys with guns to pass some good policies, and that’s what we’ve done.”
The US News & World Report story on cities violating firearms preemption laws contained exactly zero quotes from anybody or organization who opposes the efforts. Instead, it offered up a glowing and one-sided portrayal of the movement.
Compare that to the treatment that the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement received by the same publication just a few weeks ago.
The designations are loosely based on – and co-opt the language of – liberal immigration reform efforts that have taken hold in cities around the country, though they differ in substance and in practice. The resolutions passed in Virginia, for example, are largely symbolic in nature and many do not explicitly spell out how a county would oppose new gun laws – just that it does.
The sanctuary movement is indicative of a growing backlash against Virginia’s leftward lean in recent years, coinciding with a campaign season that saw Democrats in November gain control of both chambers of the legislature for the first time in more than two decades.
Gun control was a top issue for voters, and many Democratic candidates focused heavily on the need for greater restrictions, hoping to seize on voters’ frustrations about Republican inaction on gun laws.
If you read the entire story, you’ll see several individuals quoted who criticize the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement, including a law professor and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Overall it’s not a bad story, and it has fairly good balance. Only when you compare it to the softball story on the gun control movement’s push to enact local laws in violation of firearms preemption statutes do the glaring differences become obvious.
Both of these movements seek to use the power of local government to impact the right to keep and bear arms, but the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is on far stronger legal ground than the gun control activists’ push to violate firearms preemption laws, simply because in most sanctuaries, local governments have passed resolutions and not actual ordinances. The Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is largely one based on exercising our First Amendment rights in defense of our Second Amendment rights, while the push by gun control activists to impose their own local gun restrictions is based on a desire to limit the free exercise of constitutional rights in clear violation of the law.
Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions often include specific statements about using all legal avenues to resist enforcing unconstitutional gun control laws, while the gun control advocates are simply using extralegal means in an attempt to restrict the rights of residents. I’m not aware of any court challenge to a Second Amendment Sanctuary, but I can show you several examples of gun control activists getting smacked down by the courts when they pass local gun laws in violation of state statute.
Yet it’s the gun control activists that receive the accolades from the press, while the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement is derided as dangerous. It’s a glaring double standard, and is another perfect example of the anti-gun and anti-Second Amendment bias displayed by the mainstream media every day.